Military News

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

ANG Director discusses reserve component issues during AFA conference

by Staff Sgt. John E. Hillier
Air National Guard Readiness Center Public Affairs

9/21/2015 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- The director of the Air National Guard spoke about several issues currently faced by the Air Reserve Components during the Total Force panel at the Air Force Association's 2015 Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition, held in National Harbor, Maryland, Sept. 14-16.

Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III, ANG director, addressed topics ranging from civilian employer support, retention, integrated bases, working with civilian employers, and increased interoperability across the total force.

Clarke addressed the change in the reserve components' role in the warfight from a strategic to an operational one, noting that "how we use people became different, but the way we apply administrative rules to them is still trying to catch up. But we have to be careful not to break the model."

The Panel also featured Chief of Air Force Reserve Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Requirements Lt. Gen. James M. Holmes, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Manpower and Reserve Affairs Daniel R. Sitterly.

Despite the heavy tasking Guard members face, not just during deployments, but in service to the homeland and state missions, both employers and the public have their backs, said Clarke.

"We're doing so much at home for the Air Force, for the states, for our citizens, in addition to all of our deployment and readiness training," said Clarke. "Things like airborne firefighting, search and rescue, [Joint Terminal Attack Controller] training, and joint air drop requirements - none of that is deployment. All that being said, our Airmen are still coming to drill, they're still part of the Guard, and they're still staying in with a retention rate of ninety-something percent. And I couldn't be more proud of them."

Holmes discussed pathways for increasing cooperation among the regular Air Force and the reserve components.

"I think the way forward is to swap leaders," said Holmes. "We've grown people who can serve as leaders in each other's organizations, in the senior NCO level and in the officer level, and I think our path is making sure we continue to develop leaders who understand all the components."

Clarke also stressed efforts the reserve components are making to adapt to missions transferred from regular Air Force units.

"There is some movement actually that is occurring," he said. "It's not large pieces because, in almost every single analysis, what's revealed is that whether it's Reserve, Guard, or regular Air Force, we don't have enough to do some of the missions out there now."

He also discussed efforts to increase cooperation with commercial airlines in attracting new pilots, and helping current members keep flying in both their Guard and civilian careers.

"As the economy continues to improve, there's going to be a greater demand [for pilots] as we see it," Clarke said. "We hosted nine of the major airlines' chief pilots about a month ago to discuss some of these issues and how in the future we might share some of [our people]. All nine of them said 'we want that. We want to share assets and not have to pull people out of the uniform.'"

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